THE FOOD CYCLE
Allah splits the seed and kernel. He brings
forth the living from the dead, and produces the dead out of the
living. That is Allah, so how are you misguided? (Qur'an,
As shown in the diagram, dead plants and animals are broken
down by bacteria and transformed into minerals. This organic
waste absorbed into the soil constitutes the basic foodstuff
of plants. This nutritional cycle is therefore of vital importance
for all living things.
In the above verse, our attention is drawn to a food cycle of which
people at the time of the Qur'an's revelation could have known nothing.
When a living thing dies, micro-organisms quickly cause it to decompose.
The dead body is thus divided up into organic molecules that mix
with the soil and form the basic source of food for plants, animals,
and, ultimately, humanity. Were it not for this nutritional cycle,
life would not be possible.
Bacteria are responsible for meeting all living
things' mineral and food needs. Plants and some animals, which remain
almost dead (hibernation) throughout the winter, revive in the summer
and meet all of their mineral and food requirements through the
activities of bacteria during the winter. Throughout the winter,
bacteria separate organic wastes (i.e., dead plants and animals)
and turn them into minerals.162
Thus, when living things reawaken in spring, they find food ready
and waiting for them. Thanks to bacteria, a "spring cleaning" has
been carried out in their environment and the necessary amount of
food has been prepared for nature as it returns to life in the spring.
As we have seen, dead creatures play a vital role in the emergence
of new ones. This transition, indicated in the Qur'an as "He
brings forth the living from the dead, and produces the dead out
of the living," is carried out in the most perfect manner.
This is one of the proofs that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah.
162. Bilim ve Teknik (Science and
Technology) 234 (May 1987) 17.